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Roman Defeat

No sooner had Xanthippus given the order to the
The battle.
men on the elephants to advance and disperse the lines in front of them, and to his cavalry to outflank both wings and charge the enemy, than the Roman army—clashing their shields and spears together after their usual custom, and simultaneously raising their battle-cry— charged the enemy. The Roman cavalry being far outnumbered by the Carthaginians were soon in full retreat on both wings. But the fortune of the several divisions of the infantry was various. Those stationed on the left wing— partly because they could avoid the elephants and partly because they thought contemptuously of the mercenaries— charged the right wing of the Carthaginians, succeeded in driving them from their ground, and pursued them as far as their entrenchment. Those stationed in front of the elephants were less fortunate. The maniples in front were thrown into utter confusion by the crushing weight of the animals: knocked down and trampled upon by them they perished in heaps upon the field; yet owing to its great depth the main body remained for a time unbroken. But it was not for long.
The Romans are beaten and annihilated.
The maniples on the rear found themselves outflanked by the cavalry, and were forced to face round and resist them: those on the other hand who forced their way to the front through the elephants, and had now those beasts on their rear, found themselves confronted by the phalanx of Carthaginians, which had not yet been in action and was still in close unbroken order, and so were cut to pieces. This was followed by a general rout. Most of the Romans were trampled to death by the enormous weight of the elephants; the rest were shot down in their ranks by the numerous cavalry: and there were only a very few who attempted to save themselves by flight. But the flatness of the country was unfavourable to escape in this manner. Some of the fugitives were destroyed by the elephants and cavalry; while only those who fled with the general Regulus, amounting perhaps to five hundred, were after a short pursuit made prisoners with him to a man.
Regulus made prisoner.

On the Carthaginian side there fell about eight hundred of the mercenaries, those namely who had been stationed opposite the left wing of the Romans. On the part of the Romans about two thousand survived. These were those whom I have already described as having chased the Carthaginian right wing to their entrenchment, and who were thus not involved in the general engagement. The rest were entirely destroyed with the exception of those who fled with Regulus. The surviving maniples escaped with considerable difficulty to the town of Aspis. The Carthaginians stripped the dead, and taking with them the Roman general and the rest of their prisoners, returned to the capital in a high state of exultation at the turn their affairs had now taken.

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